Counting pages, and minutes

Yes, I have been writing. Mostly I’ve been adding and deleting bits here and there. Not writing huge entire scenes, because lately I can’t concentrate to save my life (concentrate, hell, I can barely manage to dress myself and get out the door to work this week). So I’ve been filling in parts and pieces. Okay, maybe I wrote one scene. Or two.

How much have I written? Well, interesting thing about Scrivener (and by interesting, I mean frustrating), it doesn’t give you page counts. Or, if it does, I don’t know where to find them. And it only gives you word count within each scene, not for the entire document. So I had no idea how much “progress” I’d made. [Please note: I refuse to limit the definition of progress solely to page count. There’s more than that going on here. Really.]

However, there is a feature in Scrivener called “Compile Manuscript” that will supposedly take all your pages and put them into manuscript format. At which point you can count said pages. Words, even. Sounds pretty cool, huh? Yet just the thought of clicking on that option sent a cold chill down my spine. It sounded so final. Was this some irrevocable last step, after which one could not go back and continue writing and editing? Was I just a click away from one more excuse to put off finishing the damn book already? Surely not.

Tonight I decided to recklessly succumb to the lure of curiosity and give it a try. (Hey, as I write this, my daughter is sleeping on the floor in the airport in Santiago, Chile. Tomorrow night, Miami. I needed a distraction here.) I think I made three backup copies first. Just in case. And then I clicked on the magical “Compile Manuscript” option. Made me feel very accomplished, as if I were a real writer who had an entire ms that needed compiling. At first I didn’t even bother looking at the new version. I was too busy frantically clicking on the old version to see whether the work-in-progress was still, well, workable. And it was. Exactly the same as before the momentous transformation.

So then I looked at the compilation. Very cool. Very professional. This program is amazing. And I was pleasantly surprised by the page count. Once my daughter gets here and I’ve hugged her and kissed her and counted all her fingers and toes and made sure she has arrived unscathed and hugged her some more and generally cried happy tears all over her and can finally obsess abou–, er, concentrate on something other than her safe return, I’ll go back and see how many of those new pages are worthy of the name fiction. Because I suspect more than a few of them contain distracted ramblings about the inadvisability of letting one’s children wander off to foreign countries for months at a time in the name of higher education. Really, what the hell was I thinking? Next time, I’ll go with her.

Saturday can not come soon enough.



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3 responses to “Counting pages, and minutes

  1. McB

    You were thinking that you had done an amazing job raising an amazing young woman and it was time to step back and let your hard work shine.

    And Congrats on finally clicking that button. Look you, you’re a writer!

    Mishero: that’s you


  2. Merry

    I’m wondering if your daughter will follow along with teenage tradition, or if all that saved-up laundry will set off some kind of security alert.

    And congrats on your perseverance and caution re writing with Scrivener! That beats the heck out of the curiosity approach, i.e. I wonder what happens if I press this button?. If your current position doesn’t work out, you can always get a job in a nuclear power plant.
    (There. That’s incentive to keep going.)

    Did you see Jenny’s post about how long it takes her to write a book?

    slannons – let’s go to Slannons house and find out why her mother was so allergic to the letter ‘h’


  3. BCB

    LOL, McB! It was more a case of realizing I couldn’t stop her if I tried.

    I think I remember her telling me her host mother wouldn’t let her do laundry. I have a feeling all her clothes will be clean. I think it’s the hiking boots that will be . . . interesting.

    I just had a skype text chat with her and they have made it safely to Lima, Peru. Leaving shortly for San Salvador. Then on to Miami tonight. And then HOME in the morning!

    And yes, I saw that post. Not sure whether it makes me feel better because it takes her a long time too or worse because even after many many books it’s still an agonizingly long process.

    acklit: yeah, that’s a good name for it